Rating: 5 / 5
I had used a Nunatak Arc Alphinist several years ago for almost an entire season, but that was before I knew how to keep clean outdoors and I ended up stinking the thing up with foot fungus so bad I had to throw it away and buy another bag to complete my trip. After that miserable experience, I decided to go with Polarguad, which is easier to wash and has some other advantages over down. However, I found my Polarguard quilts lost about 30% of their initial loft of 2" as the season progressed, and by autumn I only had 1.3" of loft, which was uncomfortable for sub-freezing weather. So the choice was to either start with 3" of Polarguard, or go back to down.
I decided to go with down, but I wanted to use the same sort of quilt I had used with Polarguard, namely, one with an integrated hood. Nunatak provided me with a custom backcountry blanket, measuring 88" long by 57" wide at the head tapering to 42" long at the foot (these are dimensions of the stretched shell of finished quilt--the lofted and unstretched quilt is slightly smaller). 15oz of 800cuin/oz fill. There are 2" sewn-through chambers at either end, which serve as draft tubes in the finished quilt and the remaining 84" uses 5" wide baffled chambers. I then completed the quilt by folding in two and sewing up the foot end, plus 12" along the length to make a foot pocket, and also sewed up about 16" of the head end, leaving a circle of about 25" unsewed in the middle as a breathing hole. Finally, I added 8" wide by 60" long draft skirts to the sides of the quilt. Final weight is 680 grams (24 oz) and loft is about 2.5".
I am very pleased with the final result and look forward to using it on my upcoming trip. Based on my experiences with Polarguard quilts of the same design, I am confident this new quilt will work very well, and be much more comfortable than using a separate hood. I can highly recommend Nunatak for making the backcountry blanket part of the quilt. By mutual agreement, I sewed the final steps myself, but it probably wouldn't be hard to arrange for Nunatak to do these steps.